U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a lecture on women’s competitiveness at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Friday. / Yonhap
By Kim Sue-young
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton highlighted the importance of women's rights, Friday, saying they will lead to national development.
In a lecture at Ewha Womans University, Clinton said she has a strong will to improve women's rights since they are more than just morality-related issues.
``No country has yet achieved full equality for women. There is still a lot ahead for us to make sure that gender equality becomes reality,'' she said. ``Part of my mission as the secretary of state is (making sure) the United States is committed to enhancing the rights of women.''
The secretary, a former first lady, received an honorary doctorate from the school in recognition of her efforts to promote women's rights and status.
The school is known to have close relationship with Clinton's alma mater, Wellesley College.
Dressed in a vivid red suit, Clinton also urged participants to show interest in international issues such as climate change and environmental pollution.
To become leaders in the future, she said young people must know what they ``love and is purposeful'' for them and figure out how they can devote themselves to society.
``I could never have imagined myself here as the secretary of state today, but look where I am now,'' she said. ``Follow your dreams. With your education and the opportunities available in your country, there is so much that you can do.''
On the North Korean nuclear issue, she said Washington will be ready to talk and discuss ways to replace the current armistice with a peace treaty if Pyongyang dismantles its nuclear weapons in a complete and verifiable way.
Attending the lecture were Reps. Na Kyung-won and Cho Yoon-sun of the governing Grand National Party, and the nation's first, and Asia's second female astronaut, Yi So-yeon.
Before the lecture, she met with USFK commander Gen. Walter L. Sharp to assess the communist state's threat to test-fire a long-range Taepodong-2 missile.
Clinton called for Pyongyang to come to the negotiation table and not to take provocative action.
According to reports, North Korea plans to test the missile, which is considered capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching the western United States.
U.S. officials saw this attempt as ``not a bluff,'' saying Pyongyang appears to be serious.
The missile was last tested three years ago but failed shortly after launch.
Later in the day, Clinton left for Beijing, the final destination of her first Asian trip as secretary of state. She traveled to Japan and Indonesia before her two-day visit to South Korea.